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Canadians match season’s best after three-set thriller in Gstaad

Sarah Pavan has hit form in Gstaad and into the quarterfinals at Gstaad
Gstaad, Switzerland, July 11, 2014 - Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan matched their best FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour result when they dug deep to book a place in the Gstaad Grand Slam quarterfinals on Friday. 

Switzerland’s Nadine Zumkehr and Joana Heidrich meanwhile knocked out the leading seeds April Ross and Kerri Walsh with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) victory.

The Canadian pair’s previous best was a last eight at the Long Beach Grand Slam in 2013, but they ensured they would at least match that result in the Swiss Alps when they fought back from losing the opening set to win 2-1 (13-21, 21-17, 21-19). 

“It was a great match and very tight,” Bansley said. “It has not been an easy route to this stage and we have had some tough matches. We took this one point by point and not thinking too far ahead in the match.”

The pair will now meet the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova in the last eight. 

In the men’s draw the players advanced to the second elimination round, where the winners of the pools stages will take on the second and third place teams that progressed from the first elimination round.

Home favourites delight Gstaad crowd by eliminating top seeds

Nadine Zumkehr and Joana Heidrich caused a major upset at the Gstaad Grand Slam when they eliminated top seeds April Ross and Kerri Walsh. 

The Swiss pair were roared on by a near-capacity centre court crowd to beat the winners of the Moscow and Stavanger Grand Slams and the Fuzhou Open 2-0 (21-19, 21-15).

“Joana was amazing today,” Zumkehr said. “She made life very easy for me with how she played at the net. She made herself so big and blocked everything. 

“We went into that match just thinking about doing what we could and doing our best, but not expecting much.”

Austrian pair silence Gstaad crowd for season’s best

Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst shut out the Gstaad Grand Slam crowd to beat Swiss pair Sebastian Chevallier and Alexei Strasser and record their best result of the season so far. 

The Austrians won 2-1 (21-13, 21-23, 16-14) to move into the second elimination round, the first time they have gone so far on the 2014 World Tour. 

“They were supporting the Swiss guys, but were very fair,” Doppler said. “It was very tough because we could have easily closed it 2-0, but it went to the third set. We kept on fighting and fighting and that is why the win is even better.”

“We were waiting for a top 10. We started the season well with a second in a CEV event and bronze at the European Championships, but we always lost the match for ninth, so it feels good to be back in the top 10.”

The double-gender US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam runs from Wednesday, July 9 until Sunday July 13 when the men’s and women’s medal matches take place. It is the ninth event and the fifth Grand Slam on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that features nine Grand Slams and 11 Open tournaments.

The 2014 World Tour began at the Fuzhou Open in China in April and concludes at the Durban Open in South Africa in December. Next up on the World Tour calendar is the Transavia Hague Grand Slam which runs from July 15-20.

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